17th April 2015

From the heart of South Africa to the Home of Racing

My name Delani Mtshali and I come from Mooi River, which is in KwaZulu-Natal South Africa. But this year finds me a long way from home. This is my first season working at The National Stud here in Newmarket. I have come from Summerhill Stud where I work and studied stud management.

When I started working there I was still at school, so I worked at the weekends and during the holidays. I have two elder brothers who also work at Summerhill and so I am following in their footsteps.

It was hard work combining the work with school but it was good to gain experience. When I started I worked mainly with the two year olds. When I left school, I moved on to working with the foals which I liked.

We have 12 stallions at Summerhill and I have worked with them in the breeding shed and parading them too. But, if I am honest, I prefer working with the mares in the breeding season and looking after them in the off season too after we have weaned their foals.

This is my first time out of South Africa so after a night flight, I found myself in Heathrow. It was confusing and I didn’t know how to get out! Everyone seemed to know where they were going, but I didn’t, so I just followed them. I felt relieved when I saw my friend Amy who had come to collect me.

My journey to Newmarket showed me how different life is here. The roads at home often have cows on them and your speed limit is much slower here. Then when we got to Newmarket, I couldn’t believe how early it got dark in winter and it was so cold too. Now it is lighter and warmer too. This is good.

I am getting to know Newmarket as a town. I have been welcomed with open hands and the other staff have been very supportive. That is what is important about working on stud, you work as a team to get the job done.

I miss my mother, but I am enjoying my time here. My brothers and my family are very excited for the opportunity to gain this experience.